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The van saga

Why is English bureaucracy such a nightmare!

semi-overcast 19 °C

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We arrived back in Bristol and started van hunting. It turned out finding the van was not the hard part. We tracked down a great van up north being sold by two guys who recently did a very similar trip around Europe. It was set up brilliantly for us. Long beds, lots of storage, captain's chairs that spin around, two burner hob, sink with working tap....everything we could want.

Next came the drama that is English Bureacracy and some other minor hiccups. I'll be brief because this was dull as dishwater to do and I imagine worse to read:
1 Insurance (let's just say just because you can buy a car in the UK does not necessarily mean you can easily insure it, 47 calls and two false starts later... including two 5 hour round trips to the van, we got our insurance sorted.... I hate insurers!!)

2 UK Licence (this is the insurer's fault [plus it technically would have been illegal to drive on my Oz licence once we got back from the continent], anyway, there are no DVLA offices and everything is done by post. That's right folks three week's with my passport and licence...that is all my photo ID, in the hands of the English bureaucrats.... so scary!).... Weirdly enough it's totally legal to drive in the UK without these while all this documentation is with the DVLA... or at least that's what I was told by the post office worker, cause again, they don't have a DVLA office where you can check!!

3 Here's my top tip for new van owners: you should always learn where your lights are as soon as you buy a new van. Otherwise you can accidently switch your lights on without realising and therefore not turn them off when you leave the van to its own devices for 2 days. However, the upside is after pulling out and testing both the leisure and main batteries turned out they were shot anyway, so it was maybe a blessing in disguise... a very stressful, time consuming, worry inducing, blessing in disguise.

Now for the main event. Presenting Bessie our lovely, most reliable, absolutely glorious, van. Dad these photos are for you....
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Driving Bessie in the Lake's District

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Here she is again!

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Bessie at Loch Ness

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Bessie chilling on the Isle of Skye

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Bessie watching the sunset in the Curraing

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Bessie driving at St Andrew's (get it... driving)

Posted by Addy21 11:35 Archived in England Tagged van Comments (0)

The Amsterdam wrap up

Van Gogh....finally

overcast 4 °C

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The next day, and our final day in Amsterdam, we had to return the bikes. Getting back into Amsterdam proved almost as tricky as riding out. This time we also had our bags which made it a bit more tiring. We were definitely helped by daylight and a realisation that the quite large roads that seemed to be on the maps were sometimes quite narrow bikelanes. It still wasn't simple though.

We had hoped, perhaps naively, that in daylight and with a bit more knowledge it would only take the hour google suggested. No such luck, so we arrived at the Van Gogh museum facing another ridiculously long queue. Matt went to wait in the queue while I road the bikes one by one to return them. I'm not sure who had it worst, I was buggered by the time I got back to the queue (after riding, power walking, riding and power walking back again) but Matt was a popsicle. Luckily, it was only about a 15 minute wait by the time I joined Matt in the queue and he was finally able to get some warmth back.

The museum was lovely. There were lots of beautiful works by Van Gogh, but unfortunately not as many of his famous works as we had thought. We spent a few hourslarge_DSC00600.jpg strolling through, then looking at the time decided we were better off waiting in the warmth of the museum with our bags safely stowed in the museum coat check than braving the cold for longer than necessary. I was very much over the cold by this stage.

We had our final walk through Amsterdam on our way back to get the tram out to the bus and headed for London.

Posted by Addy21 00:35 Archived in Netherlands Tagged bikes amsterdam museum van gogh Comments (0)

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